How many times have you heard someone tell you if you strength train, you will get bulky, your voice will get deeper, & you’ll start growing chest hairs???!!
Just kidding, but we know you have heard some crazy things about strength training. Since embarking on your weight loss journey, we know you have been going hard on the cardio. While cardio is an excellent activity to jump start your weight loss & improve your cardio health, it is not the only thing required for overall wellness & fitness.
Strength training is also an essential element to your workout regimen. Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. In simple terms, strength training helps you build muscle which helps you increase your metabolism, lose weight, increase your strength, & truly lean, tone, & sculp your body.
Here are 8 strength training myths we think you should know & DISMISS from your thought process:
1. Lifting Heavy Weight Will Make You Bulky! I know when Eric introduced me to the idea of strength training, I immediately had a vision of The HULK! Don’t ask me why, but I envisioned myself with muscles bulging from my ears. I can tell you, that didn’t happen! Have no fear about lifting heavier weight. You will not get bulky! The truth is, by lifting heavier weights, your muscles will get stronger & more dense. It will help you burn the fat on top of your muscles, allowing you to tone & sculpt your body.
2. Cardio Burns MORE Fat:Huh…WRONG! Actually, lifting weights increases the number of calories you burn each day. The more muscles your have, the more energy you will burn being active and at rest. Strength training breaks down your muscles. They are then rebuilt over the next 24-48 hours. It is during this rebuilding process, your body will require more energy. Because of the need for more energy, your metabolism will increase. See the cycle? Please note, we are not telling you to ditch your cardio. We are suggesting you add a strength training workout to your regimen at least 2-3 times a week.
3. Lifting Weight Will Cause You To GAIN More Weight: This is tricky because we have all been drawn into believing this thing called a “scale” and making a judgement about our weight or “heaviness.” Here’s the truth, we have to make sure we have a clear understanding of what it means to be lean & what it means to be lighter. You can lose weight & technically be lighter. You can also strength training, increase weight, and be healthier & leaner. Keep this in mind: The scale is only a guide. It does not have the last say as to how you should feel at a certain weight number. While you may have a weight goal in mind, recognize that when you begin to strength train, you will get leaner, & more toned. You will see your body take shape & actually be smaller but the scale is what you would consider “higher.” Trust your measuring tape.
4. Muscles Can Turn Into Fat: Not exactly. When you lose muscle mass, you will burn fewer calories. It is the excess food that you consume and energy you don’t use that can be or will be stored as fat.
5. Lifting HEAVY Weights Is the Only Way: Research suggests lifting light weights for more reps is just as effective as lifting heavier weights for less reps. The key is lifting to the point of muscle fatigue. Utilizing your own bodyweight also counts! It can be just as effective as lifting weights.
6. Machine Lifting Is Better Than Free Weight Lifting: Weight machines help isolate the muscle and force your body to move in one direction. This tends to limit your range of motion. Lifting free weights requires more muscles and can result in greater strength gains.
7. It’s BEST To Work One Muscle Group Per Day: It is more important to vary your workouts then it is to think you have to work isolated groups to see results. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and circuit training workouts focused on full-body training will help to build muscle, increase cardio health, burn calories, and improve recovery time. Focus on working more than one muscle group at a time.
8. All You Have To Do Is Eat 1200 Calories or Less: Think about this: If we are all varying heights, different ages, different activity levels, how can we all survive on the SAME amount of fuel?
Truth is, you can’t. Also, the truth is you can not build a healthier lifestyle around 1200 calories.
While eating less will help you lose weight it is not a long term solution that will support your healthier & active lifestyle. It is important to fuel your body with the proper nutrition & enough off it! Unless you are a very petite person, we do not recommend a woman eating below 1800 calories per day or men eating below 2000 per day IF THEY ARE EXERCISING REGULARLY!
When you consume only 1200 calories per day and try to exercise, your body will not have enough energy to support your efforts. It is more important to eat the RIGHT FOODS and enough of them then it is for you to believe eating 1200 calories will support you. The last thing you want your body to do is go in what is known as starvation mode. When your body goes into starvation mode, it doesn’t matter what you eat, your body will hold it and your efforts will begin working against you than for you.
Eat More! Eat Better! Live Healthier!
As always, thank you for time, love & support. We hope what we have shared has helped you. Be sure to share this info with family & friends.
-Eric & Maleka Beal
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Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.